COMSAT, the U.S.-based satellite connectivity provider, has successfully installed its first Iridium Certus® system on a leisure fishing and recreational vessel. The installation on a 39-foot Yellowfin Center Console fishing boat is being used by COMSAT as a demonstration platform to showcase the flexible communications and safety benefits of the Certus connectivity technology for the fishing and leisure craft market.

Using high-speed L-band data throughput, powered by the Iridium Certus Low Earth Orbit (LEO) NEXT constellation, constant satellite connectivity is delivered around the globe, including the polar regions, to leisure maritime vessels. The demonstration platform highlights how a global recreational fleet can now benefit from affordable, reliable connectivity which improves ship to shore communications and maritime safety.

The Iridium Certus system delivers real time weather reports for immediate meteorological updates. Vessel tracking capabilities accessible from land-based platforms anywhere around the globe provide vessel visibility even in the worst of conditions. The Global Maritime Distress & Safety System, GMDSS, will be made available through the system in the future.

Captains, crew and guests also benefit from enhanced communications with internet browsing, cellular-quality voice calls, texts, and email exchange, directly to and from individual personal smartphones, enabled by the Wi-Fi technology. Award winning 24/7 Network Operations Center (NOC) customer care and support helps customers maximize the system benefits and troubleshoot unexpected issues. The NOC also provides cybersecurity threat monitoring services using cloud-based technology to detect, prevent and report breaches in data security enabling users to transmit classified or sensitive information across the highly secure network.

The equipment required to install the service is minimal making data speeds of up to 700kbps for small to mid-size leisure vessels easily accessible. A Thales antenna receives the LEO satellite signal which is transmitted to the small-form-factor modem that distributes Wi-Fi access to on-board devices. The terminal also supports unlimited and improved global push-to-talk communications between boats with similar equipment when equipped with the Iridium SureLink IP handset. Multiple data plans, and all necessary equipment for installation and use are available through COMSAT.

“Until now hardware costs, airtime prices, and the reliability on GEO constellations for connectivity have made it difficult for smaller vessels to access meaningful connectivity. Consequently, the recreational maritime market has largely been overlooked, but we are committed to highlighting that affordable, cutting-edge connectivity technology, traditionally the preserve of larger commercial operations and government vessels, is now readily available to the public,” said COMSAT CEO David Greenhill.

“Iridium Certus enables us to deliver a scalable solution improving connectivity and increasing safety for a diverse range of boat types. The benefits are numerous. Principally the safety features mitigate the risk of being lost at sea and the system also satisfies the appetite for always-on connectivity. The phrase ‘gone fishing’ will have a whole new meaning going forward,” added Greenhill.